Roberta Kaplan
AUTHOR

Roberta Kaplan

Roberta (Robbie) Kaplan, a partner at Paul, Weiss LLP, has been described as a "litigation superstar," a "powerhouse corporate litigator" and a "pressure junkie" who "thrives on looking at the big picture" whether "in the gay-marriage legal fight or high-profile corporate scandals." Although she has been described as a "new hero to the gay rights movement," Robbie has credited her friends and family "for helping her get through the 'out-of-body experience' and historic, high-stress litigation work for which she is noted." Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Robbie currently lives in New York City with her wife and son.

Robbie successfully argued before the United States Supreme Court on behalf of her client Edith Windsor in United States v. Windsor, the landmark Supreme Court case. In Windsor, the nation's highest court ruled that a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violated the U.S. Constitution by barring legally married same-sex couples from enjoying the wide-ranging benefits of marriage conferred under federal law. The consequences of the Windsor decision have been both rapid and profound. Literally dozens of courts throughout the United States have explicitly relied on Windsor to extend equal rights to gay people under the law. Professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School has observed that he cannot "think of any Supreme Court decision in history that has ever created so rapid and broad a lower-court groundswell in a single direction as Windsor."

Since Windsor, Robbie successfully brought a federal case seeking marriage equality in the State of Mississippi. Having won a preliminary injunction in the Southern District of Mississippi, Robbie recently argued that case before the Fifth Circuit. Commenting on that oral argument by Robbie at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, one legal expert noted that "Ms. Kaplan deserves special recognition for her argument at the hearing. An accomplished attorney long before she came to represent Edith Windsor, Ms. Kaplan offered concise, smart and well-reasoned responses to the judge's questions." working with the Human Rights Campaign, Robbie also filed "The People's Brief" with the Supreme Court in the latest marriage equality case, which garnered more than 270,000 signatures from Americans in all 50 states.

Robbie has been selected as one of "The 100 Most Influential Lawyers" in the United States as well as a 2013 "Litigator of the Year" by The American Lawyer, the 2013 "Lawyer of the Year" by Above The Law and the 2014 "Most Innovative Lawyer of The Year" by The Financial Times. In choosing Robbie for this honor, The Financial Times noted that "The 10 most innovative individuals in the North American legal sector are once again an impressive group, as they have been in the four-year history of the US Innovative Lawyers report. But the judges had little trouble picking just one of them to win the award for most innovative individual - itself an innovation for the report this year. Robbie has been involved in some of the most important legal developments of recent years." Robbie's achievements have been honored by many, including the American Constitution Society, LOGO/MTV, the New York Women's Foundation, the Family Equality Council, Stanford Law School and Columbia Law School. Last year, she received an honorary doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, and this year, she received one from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Robbie currently serves as the co-chair of the Board of Directors of the Gay Men's Health Crisis. She went to Harvard College and Columbia Law School, where she is an adjunct professor of law.

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